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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy

MY PERSONAL MIKVEH

MY PERSONAL MIKVEH
Rain Ritual

- Joy Krauthammer

Jan. 17, 2010 - 2 Shevat 5770


I love my personal mikveh / water purification, guided by my mind and Hashem's heavenly rains. Baruch Hashem, to receive G*d's geshem, prayed for at Sukkot. We have been in drought for so long, and need the rains; we are finally blessed in the Valley, in LA.

"May the rains be gishmei bracha - rains of blessing ," says my rebbe.

May every drop of rain that falls, be a blesSing for my friends in need of healing, say I.

So it is not too frequently that I get to have my own personal rain ritual. In my 'birthday suit', on the cold and wet holy ground of my quiet garden, I remove my shoes. I stand upright receiving the gift of G*d as the rain released from Heaven comes down to me, falling on me. Is G*d facing me? I open my arms, liberating them, raising them, so that I am not covering myself, but opening myself to You. In praise, my drippy hands reach out and high.

I feel connection to You, Hashem, geshem giver of moisture-- life so basically and badly needed, and missed.

I feel the rain on my body, my bare skin, my back as I bend / berech over to a braycha / a pool, to receive more of the drops / bruchas, both sides, my chest, my bosom, my back, my head, my neck, my face, my arms, legs, and I turn. My own seasonal circle dance and You are in the center. I imagine myself submerged in mikveh, and I make a Brucha. I don't need the "fiction" plug released to give me frozen to melted water that has been captured, halachically by rules. My organic natural mikveh is spiritually pure with kavannah / intention, and mayim chayim / living waters straight from the Source of BlesSings. I open my mouth and drink Your cool rain. I feel You on my body. I am grateful for our direct connection.

Thank you Divine One of water Who cleanses each of us and our world.

I have been paying much attention to Your delicious cloud formations this last week; sometimes filled with countless small cute puffs, white fluff, floating in stillness. Separate ones, each one close up, over my head, and creative formation like shooting fire works. Clouds concentrated in the distance. If I am in the distance, do the clouds still appear closely concentrated?

My rabbi one early morning called my attention to the soft wispy white palette against firm blue sky of G*d. Clouds like yesterday, are sometimes heavy and dark gloomy grey and hovering low over mountains. I share in appreciation with a neighbor, the clouds so artistic and delightful, giving me great pleasure as I watch them still or moving, gliding, sometimes a blanket of surprises. They truly make for colorful sunrises filled with shades of fuscia and hues of blues, as the rising sun radiates brilliant light off the edges of the early morning dark clouds.

Thank you for cleaning with Your love sent from above, my husband, Marcel's, z'l, matzeivah / his grave stone, while I was visiting yesterday. Last week for his Hebrew yahrzeit, the granite stone was dull, and yesterday the engraved orange-red colored granite looked so shiny and lovely on Marcel's secular 4th yahrzeit.

I, too, am shiny and new birthed with your wet love. I guess with shmutz gone, I, too, can be read more easily.

My very first this season and only little delicate yellow daffodil, just one day old, is bent down facing parallel to the ground now with the weight of Your water. Do I leave my daffodil there plundered to the earth or rescue and cut it from the garden and bring it inside to save it in a vase of water? The garden is its home, its Makom. I've gone out, lifted and seen the daffodil's dirty face, and shaken the drops away but more come. My daffodil in our garden can not straighten up and drops lower down. It saddens me.

I will do serious gardening for Tu B'Shvat; with Your gentle rains making transplanting easier. I will joyously share my purple bearded iris tubers, easier now to remove their firm roots from the earth to make for a friend, a new 'garden of joy'. I will more easily transplant fig trees I have planted in prior years, sharing them with friends.

Thank You for my mikveh, a blesSing. I sing Your song.

Please G*d, don't let others suffer from the rains. There is such danger, especially after the fires.

Is it raining because only a week ago I used my "rain sticks" in retreat, during my Sounds of Joy ~ Sound Spa meditation? My rain sticks are magical.

I believe in the 'Secret', and the Law of Attraction, that we receive from You what we ask for from You.

Love, Joy


P.S.

Yes, I rescued Your lonely daffodil before the sky spit, hurling heavy hail, lumps of pea sized ice. Hail didn't even melt as I held them. When the drops stopped, she was bent even lower, so I carefully cut her stem, brought her inside and gently washed off the earth's dirt from her golden face. She's now not alone, and upright with the snap dragons, and for days shares her sweet fragrance and smiling golden daffodil face.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud, that sat on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze..."
- by William Wordsworth.

I learned this daffodil poem as a child. In prior years, as on this cloudy, rainy, sunless morning, my bright cheery yellow daffodiles were also sadly bent over from the weight of the rain.

I have planted dozens of daffodils on Tu B'Shvat. As "my heart with pleasure fills", I am dancing with Your daffodils.

What treasures the Source of All BlesSings gifts us in our garden of life.

And while I have done this, rescuing a single flower, world-wide rescuers are working in Haiti to try to save the countless victims of the earthquake.
Dear Compassionate One, bless them.
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TEXAS ~ A Fenced In and Out Feat of Joy

TEXAS
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A Fenced In and Out Feat of Joy

by Joy Krauthammer

January 26, 2005


This week, six years ago. I was visiting my dear friends, Hesha and Jeff Abrams, for their daughter Danielle's January 23, 1999 glorious Bat Mitzvah in Dallas, Texas. I had never been to Texas. A couple mornings later, a hotel breakfast waiter advised me to drive to Houston to see a great garden. In a rented car, driving to Houston, and being spontaneous, I found and explored first the Kimbal Museum and took fun photos, so therefore arrived late in the afternoon at The Botanical Garden.

Oh, my. The Garden gates were closed and locked. It was after hours. I parked the car out in the middle of the large empty lot. I had missed the garden being open and I did not want to miss the garden. I had flown in from Los Angeles and driven a long way to Houston via Dallas. I was upset.

With a travelling friend from Los Angeles in tow, I left her standing by the eight feet tall, secured, strong brown impressive wooden gates as I walked around the Garden's fenced exterior hoping to find an entrance. Found NO entrance. I looked through a narrow opening slit in the fence and I could see that I wanted to experience what was inside. I could see an inviting pond and green plants. I was fenced out. I went back to my friend and with determination, said, "Here, hold my purse".

I had just months earlier been to Jerusalem, and visiting my daughter, Aviva, at Hebrew University during her Junior year abroad, found the gates at some dormitory areas were locked on Shabbat. How to get out without walking around the whole large campus again to an open gate? I was fenced in. I followed Aviva over to the walls and fenced locked tall gate. My tall, slender, agile college age daughter went UP and OVER. I was left alone on the inside. Where do I place my feet to even try to get a hold? In my Shabbat dress, I clambered UP AND OVER. Wheww. Heart racing and proud of myself!

So, since I now had this new gift, a new skill, in Houston, Texas at the Garden gate, I went UP AND OVER! Is it freedom when you go into locked spaces?

My good friend and travelling companion did not want to follow me. I was trespassing. We were LA dressed, not like boundary crossing cowboys. We were dressed for a museum and a Bat Mitzvah.

I insisted that my friend throw her purse and mine over the top of the fence. Then, up and over she went. Not a happy camper, was she.  My friend, nameless for this story, was red from embarrassment. What I had made her do. oy oy oy.

Once inside the Botanical garden, and all to ourselves, we looked into the Koi fish filled pond, and feeling fulfilled, walked over to the neat, sandy, rock designed and raked quiet Zen meditation garden. Then, from inside the Garden we heard a voice, "What are you doing here? The Garden is closed." The tall slim, in his forties gardener, was surprised to see us. I joyfully explained the story of my anticipated garden visit feeling proud of my maneuvers, illegal as they were. I was so excited to share my story of breaking in and entering his Garden, closed to the public at this late hour. A feat of joy.



Zen garden photo of Joy by gardener
Zen rock garden photo and collage by Joy Krauthammer  ©

So the nice friendly gardener who had waited years for this desirable loved gardener coveted position to open up in the Garden, took us on a personal tour, and took our photos with my camera. I took his photo. The gardener escorted us to the tall big, black iron revolving turn stile, only one way out gate, and we departed. I was a happy camper! I mailed his photo to him. The gardener knew what it meant to have an opening.

Oh, and then in the darkened night, we two friends snuck into a famous big-time rodeo in Texas, because since it was opening preview and practice night, only cowboy participants were allowed. And it was our only night in Houston. There were a whole lot of guards around and it was not easy. Took three tries sneaking in, but we did it! We had had good practice at the Garden. Oy did we LA gals look out of place. No boots, no cowboy hats or spurs, dressed only in our city finest, but we enjoyed smiling at the cows of all colors as they were groomed, and watching from the front row, the smartly coiffured horses practice their gait and parade in the ring. I bet they can jump more easily over fences.

That's my Texas story.

Back in Los Angeles, I caringly created an original large framed photo collage of our daring memories, and gave it as a gift to my courageous travelling friend.

A year and a half later, in LA, I was at cousin Adina's college graduation party and a young gal, Mina Yaroslavsky, the age of my daughter, looked at me with recognition and said, "Aren't you Aviva's mom? I saw you climbing over the Hebrew University tall security fence in Jerusalem as I was jogging past."
 
Was my face red!
Israel was my first fenced feat of Joy.
I've now conquered Texas!
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THE BESHERT, ROSH HASHANAH TASHLICH SHABBAT TURTLE

THE BESHERT, ROSH HASHANAH TASHLICH SHABBAT TURTLE

2 Tishrei 5765 . Sept. 17, 2004

by Joy Krauthammer


This is a miracle story about a sweet turtle rescued on Tashlich following Rosh HaShanah services, just prior to Shabbat.

The magical morning began on second day Rosh HaShanah at the Temescal Canyon location of the Rosh HaShanah combined Jewish Spiritual Renewal service of B'nai Horin - Children of Freedom and Makom Ohr Shalom. Spiritual leaders included Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Stan Levy, Rabbi Debra Orenstein and Cantors Mark Bacharach and Monty Turner. Unexpected terrific guest leaders included cantorial soloist Craig Taubman, and a great surprise, sharing prayers and stories, Theodore Bikel, who was in deep loving Yiddishe embrace with his long-time dear friend, Reb Zalman.

Musicians included Rebbe Soul's Bruce Berger and flutist Richard Hardy. I had my timbrel to play in joy as the Torah was paraded in shul. Congregants included members from all the Renewal shuls. People had traveled far to come to this service. So many loving friends were present.

Following spiritually moving services, Tashlich on the Santa Monica beach with Rabbi Stan was an awesome experience, as it is every year. Toward the end of Tashlich I had gone looking for the beginning of the Sarah's Tent Tashlich ritual which I also participate in each year. It was supposedly being held in the same area as every year, but I never found it. That was beshert / meant to be.

After doing my own Tashlich ritual, I went back to rejoin B'nai Horin as I had heard that member and teacher, Rina Daly, was doing a later children's Shabbat program. I was talking to Ronit, another B'nai Horin member, as only a few of us were left on the beach after Tashlich. Suddenly I saw a few members huddle together and curious to see what I anticipated was an ocean find, I excused myself and ran to the water's edge.

Jony Goode (Rina's husband) was holding a turtle! Jony had found the turtle, about six inches of shell length, in the ocean. Karen Golden, a long time Sarah's Tent friend and renowned storyteller, quickly exclaimed that this was not an ocean turtle but a freshwater turtle. Jony had rescued the turtle from an unfriendly environment on Tashlich. This is a day of rescuing our souls from our sins.

We decided that maybe someone thought they were liberating the turtle by putting it into the ocean. We all became part of the rescue team. When Karen said the turtle was not in the right environment for him, I decided the turtle would be happier if he had a purification with healing water.

I took out my bottle of spring water and gently poured it over the turtle, beginning with its head. The turtle clearly liked the fresh water as s/he began to stretch out far it's head and all four legs. I think the turtle was really happy to have healthy water. S/he had been more hidden in its shell until given fresh water. The turtle was happy in Karen's hands Another friend, Charlotte Lynn, joined in with more bottled water. Turtle was loving it.

Karen's daughters, Hyla and her younger sister, looked on in glee as their mom was holding the newly found creature. While Karen held the turtle, I then began to pet the turtle's head with a single finger. I continued to stroke the head as the turtle looked at me with it's sweet grateful eyes. The turtle liked for me to stroke its head. I felt I had connected to the turtle's soul. It was a day for Tshuvah / returning to soul.

Karen pointed out the little red color by the eyes, being even more sure that this was not an ocean turtle. Karen said the turtle was underweight, and also that it's shell had been affected by the salt water. Karen exclaimed that she had three turtles in a pond at home and could care for this one. She said that there is even a monthly Friday turtle club. Karen's husband expressed concern for the other turtles in case the new swimmer joined them. I asked Jony for permission if Karen could be a foster mom for the turtle that he had rescued, until the time that Jony and Rina had a proper place to care for the turtle.

Purifying ourselves by throwing our sins into the ocean with proxy bread, and reading poetry on healing waters, by the healing water, we were able to purify our High Holiday turtle with pure spring water! Turtle was given a mikveh to be cleansed. This is a renewed turtle and happy to join community.

Rina began her Shabbat family program and the turtle was at its first (I am sure) Shabbat celebration. Abby sang songs and prayers on guitar as Rina led us into Shabbat with candle, challah and wine on the beach. I knew that I may be late for the evening Erev Shabbat service with Reb Zalman in the Valley at Makom Ohr Shalom, but I was enjoying this beach community Shabbat celebration and especially with the Shabbat Tashlich turtle.

Rina explained that the empty snail shells she had brought to share, were a metaphor for us humans allowing our souls to expand beyond the protective shell. Our Shabbat turtle is a maven on protecting himself in his shell, his makom / home.

I realized that, Beshert, I had missed the Sarah's Tent gathering so that I could participate in the Shabbat rescue of the Tashlich Turtle and help renew it's soul. "Return Again, Return Again, Return To The Land Of Your Soul." (song by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach)
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